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Country Music

Chris Young – A.M. (Album Review)


Chris Young – A.M. (Album Review)

If you’re like me, you may have a love/hate relationship with Country Music. It’s an interesting contrast as I literally detest some Country Music styles and simply adore others. The rock-based style is one that I thoroughly enjoy; a style which Chris Young has mastered. A.M. is Young’s third album and is recorded, mixed, and mastered with pure perfection. The song selection, many co-written by Young, are also perfectly suited to each other, flowing seamlessly as the album progresses. 

Aw Naw is a killer country rock and roll tune. You’ll be turning the volume up and toe-tapping to a song that is likely to become a classic as a result of its addictive rhythm and catchy tune. 

The music video is a solid accompaniment to the song, but I feel the editing style is a little too slow for the musicality, thereby being less impactful as it could have been.  

Hold You To It is a little slower, but flows perfectly from Aw Naw. It’s a solid tune, works well within the album context, but is nothing to write home about. 

Lonely Eyes has incredible rhythm. Young’s vocal pace, and overall delivery, is utterly perfect. An exceptional song!

The music video is serviceable but ultimately uninspiring. 

Goodbye is stunning! Close your eyes and enjoy the musicality and Young’s smooth baritone vocal. 

A.M. is a bloody brilliant country rock and roll tune. It will likely give you an earworm, but it is so good that it is worth it. 

Nothin’ But The Cooler Left is perfectly suited to the album, but as a song, on its own, it’s a little lacklustre, predictable, and campy. Nevertheless, A.M. wouldn’t be the same without it. 

Who I Am With You has some exceptional guitar work and Young’s vocal is again, right on point. Simply beautiful!

The music video is incredible. The storytelling, mixed with live and backstage elements, is utterly perfect and amplifies the song to a new level of appreciation that you really need to check out. 

Text Me Texas is a lovely ballad-styled country song that showcases just how well this album is recorded, mixed, and mastered. If you close your eyes, you’d swear Young and the band are in the room with you. 

We’re Gonna Find It Tonight is toe-tapping and head-bopping gold. A great tune!

Forgiveness is slow but rhythmically magical. It is, without a doubt, one of the best songs on the album. 

Lighters In The Air is an excellent song to close the album with, ensuring that you’ll listen to the album again, especially considering its modest 37-minute runtime leaves you wanting more. 

Overall, A.M. is an incredible album from start to finish and if you’re at all interested in Country Music, you’re bound to love A.M. and should have a copy in your collection. Now, if only Sony would issue A.M. on vinyl, I’d be happy. Until then, the Apple Music (Apple Digital Master) stream is stunning and has captured the performances perfectly.  

Chris Young’s A.M. is also available on CD.


Ryan Hurd – An Introduction To A New Country Music Star (TIDAL Hi-Fi Review)


Ryan Hurd – An Introduction To A New Country Music Star (TIDAL Hi-Fi Review)

Country Music and I have a love/hate relationship. I truly enjoy the genre, but I find that there is a lot of country music that I just can’t relate to, therefore I don’t listen to the genre as often as I would like. That said, I can listen to Achy Breaky Heart anytime and I sincerely encourage you all to take a listen to Some Gave All as the debut album from Billy Ray Cyrus is extremely good. I feel the music we are hearing from Ryan Hurd is as revolutionary as that which Cyrus introduced in the early 90s. Hurd obviously has a different sound and technique, but he is revolutionising what country music is by combining more recording and production elements from the breadth of country, rock, and pop music. I don’t necessarily want to say that Hurd is making accessible country music, but his musical style will certainly appeal to a mainstream audience.

While Hurd’s debut album has yet to be released, he has released four incredible singles that I have been playing continuously. If these songs are any indication of the quality we can expect on the album, then I have no doubt that Ryan Hurd will be the next great country music star. After all, he has already penned music for Jake Owen, Tim McGraw, and many others including a No.1 hit duet, Lonely Tonight, recorded by Blake Shelton and Ashley Monroe.

Hold You Back has a hypnotic beat that is immediately addictive. It is easy to sing-a-long to as your body sways uncontrollably from side to side. However, the most compelling aspect is the forward presentation of Hurd’s vocal track. Actually, his vocal is prominent in all the songs currently released, ensuring it doesn’t get lost in the instrumental accompaniment. While this technique is common in country music, I feel that modern recording techniques have lessened vocal presentation due to their overly compressed nature. That all said, I absolutely adore the electric guitar solo in this song. It blends in perfectly and isn’t too long. 

City Girl is country music intertwined with soft rock and pop. It is exceptional! I particularly enjoy the variances in vocal pace throughout the song. I could honestly listen to Hurd’s vocal performance all day; he is an exceptional vocalist. 

Love In A Bar is an atmospheric song that gradually introduces musical elements as the song progresses. Personally, I love music that starts simply and becomes more involved as it takes the listener on a sonic journey. A gorgeous guitar solo makes another appearance in this song and is similarly well restrained. 

We Do Us is really upbeat and while unmistakably country, it is pop-driven country music that will appeal to a larger audience. We Do Us is, in my opinion, the weakest of the first four singles that Hurd has released, specifically in highlighting the musical talents of his vocal performance. That said, his vocal presentation is perfect for this style of song.

Ryan Hurd is an exceptionally talented country music performer that is also capable of diversification. I can’t wait to hear his debut album. Until then, I will have to be content with the four singles, and three music videos, provided by TIDAL Hi-Fi. The soundstage of these performances is wide and welcoming, with little to no dynamic range compression. The sound is most certainly country, but limiting it to this genre would be a mistake as Hurd offers a style of music that would be perfect at any country music festival, as well as any big city stadium.

Seriously, add Ryan Hurd to your music library. You won’t regret it!